Flower Talk (formerly: "Talk to me with flowers") - 4th issue

עודכן: 12/01/15

January 2007

In this issue:

  • Short historical survey on publishing field guides and Flora.
  • "Exchanging in pairs," Part 1 – the story of the arrival of types of Euphorbia in Israel and their history since then.
  • Another couple – for free!

  • On Israeli Analytical Flora and Flora Palaestina

    Field Guides

    Israeli Plant Field Guides

    In 1931 the first edition of "The Analytical Flora of Eretz Israel" was published. It was written by Alexander Eig, Michael Zohary and Naomi Feinbrun – who lived in Israel and studied the country's plants in depth. The guide concentrated the essence of scientific knowledge and served nature enthusiasts and pupils. Since scientific research has progressed and changes have occurred in defining the plants of Israel, a new edition was published in 1948.
    For nature enthusiasts, the guide was easy to use and to carry, but on many occasions, nature researchers found the need for a richer and wider source of information than this guide offered. All over the world, since the latter part of the Middle Ages, heavy tomes have been published, defining collections of plants in certain areas. These books are termed "Flora," and eventually, these books began to be written in Israel too. Between 1966 and 1986, four weighty parts of Flora Palaestina were published, by Professors M. Zohary and N. Feinbrun, of the Hebrew University. Each part contains a book of text and a book of illustrations.
    In 1976, during the publication of these books, Zohary published “A New Analytical Flora of Israel” (in Hebrew). In 1991, Naomi Feinbrun and Avinoam Danin published “Analytical Flora of Eretz Israel" (in Hebrew) and its innovations may be read in the following link: http://www.snunit.k12.il/heb_journals/allon/128050.html (Hebrew article)
    The fifth part of Flora Palaestina, written by A. Danin, in which appear maps and distribution of all the plants of Eretz Israel, was published in 2004.
    Each of the publications mentioned above is based, to a large extent, on the publications preceding it. Many people ask: "What is the reason for publishing so many field guides? Do the plants of Eretz Israel change every decade?" Others ask: "Why is a website necessary, if all the information is contained in the guide?"
    The answer to all these questions is that new finds are continuously occurring in our country, and there are also international changes in the scientific names. In this website we can give information about these changes without the need to await the publication of a new field guide – and in this edition we shall right away tell of a new occurrence, not yet reported anywhere else.
    (Summarized by Udi Oron.)

    Exchanging in pairs of adventive plants – Part 1

    Euphorbia maculata

    Euphorbia maculata is mentioned in the second part of Flora Palaestina, written by Zohary in 1972 (defined there as E. nutans). The plant is described as an erect annual, reaching a height of 50 cm, having narrow, dentate, opposite leaves, elongated or ovoid, growing in the summer, near sprinklers. In this book, the author speaks of very limited distribution of the plant, but four years later, in the "New Analytical Flora of Israel" (Zohary 1976) a much wider distribution is mentioned.
    When I began to prepare "my" half of our Analytical Flora (Feinbrun and Danin 1991) I was surprised to discover the existence of similarly defined plants, having hairy fruits, which therefore do not fit the definition of Euphorbia maculata whose fruits are glabrous. With the aid of a Euphorbia specialist from the Botanic Gardens at Kew, London, we discovered that the plants with hairy fruits belong to the species Euphorbia lasiocarpa, and it was added to the list of Israeli plants. During these years, its distribution was wide and it spread quickly, but this is not the end of the story: since 2002 there has been an increasing appearance of Euphorbia maculata in most of the places investigated, while the Euphorbia lasiocarpa is becoming a rare plant in this country compared to its condition in the 1980's to 1990's.

    Fruits hairy

    Euphorbia lasiocarpa

    A similar occurrence is also taking place between other prostrate Euphorbia adventive species, which have opposite leaves. In the days of the field guide of Eig, Zohary and Feinbrun (1948), there was only the round-leaved E. chamaesyce, that grew in ploughed, lightly disturbed land, E. granulata, that grew in natural habitat, the hot desert around Eilat, and the E. peplis that grow in the sands of the Mediterranean. To these were added, during the years that gardening with the aid of drip irrigation was established in the country, E. prostrata, E. serpens, and E. supina, that came mainly from America. These alternate one with the other very quickly and it is difficult to establish trends such as with the first couple.
    This is the story of the Euphorbiaceae, and those interested in reading more about the morphological differences between the adventive types, are invited to look in a handbook or in the article "Types of Euphorbia in our gardens," published in the newspaper "Gan veNof" (in Hebrew) 1998.
    Best wishes,
    Avinoam Danin

    Bonus: Two new pictures from the website

    Orchis syriaca

    Dactylorrhiza romana

    As a last note, two beautiful pictures of a couple of beautiful flowers, both belonging to the Orchidaceae. Nothing has yet been written about them in handbooks or Flora. They were both discovered on a small hill at the top of which sits the settlement of Nimrod, overlooking Majdal Shams and Mas'ada. The species are Orchis syriaca (identified by Professor Amotz Dafni) and [Dactylorrhiza romana] (identified by Yossi Lev-Arie).

    Both these species may also be found in the herbarium at Givat Ram, and we shall relate more about the herbarium in a future issue.

    In the next issue: Exchanging in pairs of adventive plants, Part 2 – Amaranthus

  • We would like to thank Miriam Webber for translating this newsletter into English. Thank you!

  • List of publications appearing in the paper (in chronological order).

    A. Eig, M. Zohary, N. Feinbrun (1931) Analytical Flora of Palestine (in Hebrew, 1st edition)
    A. Eig, M. Zohary & N. Feinbrun (1989) Analytical Flora of Palestine (in Hebrew, 2nd edition).
    A. Eig, M. Zohary & N. Feinbrun (1931) Analytical Flora of Palestine (in Hebrew, 1st edition).
    M. Zohary (1966) Flora Palaestina, part 1.
    M. Zohary (1972) Flora Palaestina, part 2.
    M. Zohary (1976) A new Analytical Flora of Israel (in Hebrew, 1st edition)
    N. Feinbrun (1978) Flora Palaestina, part 3.
    N. Feinbrun (1986) Flora Palaestina, part 4.
    M. Zohary (1989) A new Analytical Flora of Israel (in Hebrew, 2nd edition).
    N. Feinbrun & A. Danin (1991) Analytical Flora of Eretz Israel (in Hebrew).
    A. Danin, (2004) Distribution Atlas of Plants in the Flora Palaestina Area.

    Updates to Flora Palaestina may be read in the following:
    Danin, A. "The nomenclature news of Flora Palaestina." Flora Medit. 2000. 10: pp. 109-172
    This article may be downloaded from the following link, which also includes current updates:

  • [tableofcontents All the previous issues of "Flower Talk", "Useful Plants" chapters, "Plant Tales" issues, postcards from South America and more…]